THE HIGHWAY OF OUR GOD
The GOSPEL TRUTH
PART I: ENTERING THE HIGHWAY
A True and False Peace
PEACE is the universal want of man. Everywhere and always the race is in a state of unrest, seeking rest and finding none. Consequently, men adopt many counterfeits, and try to satisfy the aching void of their souls with the opiates of Satan.
Peace is not a state of mere quietness or insensibility. Alas! Many are in this state of torpor, and when you ask them about their souls they say, 'Oh, yes! I have a hope; I have a measure of peace. I hope I am right.' But when you try to shake them up, and find out whether they have any thorough foundation for their peace, they don't want to be disturbed. But peace is not insensibility to existing differences between the soul and God, for in such a condition there are all the elements of awful and eternal warfare. There only needs a change of circumstances in order to land the soul into conflict, distress and desolation. We do not mean that sort of peace.
True peace, divine peace--the only peace that will do to die with--arises out of a settlement of our differences and a cessation of hostilities toward God, and reconciliation with God, bringing assurance and quietness in view of the past, the present and the future. By false methods Satan lulls the souls of sinners and backsliders into a false peace. For one thing, he gets them to make a false estimate of the character and deserts of sin. When God's Spirit wakes them up, puts before them the heinousness and enormity of their sins, Satan comes and helps them to reason and search for excuses. They say, as the Jews did in Ezekiel's day, 'If we pine away in them (our iniquities), how should we then live?' They charged their sin back again upon God. They said His way was unequal, and when years later He accused them with wearying Him they said, 'Wherein have we wearied Him?' When He charged them with robbing Him they said, 'Wherein have we robbed Thee?' They made excuses for themselves in their sins.
Multitudes do that now! People want to make out that they are dying for want of light. I say no. They are not dying for want of light; they are dying for want of honesty.
This spirit of finding excuses is most hateful in the sight of God. In the Old Testament He is continually reproving this spirit and threatening the backslidden people with chastisement because of it; whereas He tells them that if they would confess and forsake their sins they should be forgiven.
In Revelation 2:5 it says: 'Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.' Do you see that the everlasting principle on which alone God can pardon sin, laid down in the last utterances of the New Testament as well as all through the Old, is repenting and forsaking of sin, and not excusing and covering it up?
Some people are convinced that they are wrong, but the devil is saying, 'Well, but you were once right.' And so were these Jews. He is saying, 'You are a Christian'; and they were Israelites. 'Well, but you know you are the children of God.' They were the children of Abraham, and they said they were the children of God. But Jesus Christ said, 'Ye do the deeds of your Father.'
Whose works are you doing? Do not let Satan deceive you, if you are living in sin, no matter what church you are a member of, no matter how long you have been a professor of the faith. By excusing yourselves you can get quietness perhaps, but peace never! Would that every soul that is quiet in sin were awakened as the gaoler at Philippi was, by an earthquake if necessary. People in that condition say they have peace, but all the elements of everlasting warfare are ready to break out in their bosoms at any moment. Do not confound quietness with peace.
Another method by which people get false peace is that of stifling their fears and convictions. You may succeed in stifling your convictions for a while, perhaps a long while, but when death comes it will open the floodgates of Hell. Oh, the deathbeds of people who have been burying their iniquities in their bosoms, instead of confessing and forsaking them and being saved! Some would get off their beds and hang themselves if by so doing they could get out of their misery. There is only one way to deal with sin; and that is to be out with it, to forsake it, and to have it washed away.
Another method by which sinners and backsliders seek peace is by adopting false views. They say, 'I am not to look at myself, but at Christ. I have nothing to do with my feelings or dispositions; I am to be saved by believing the word. Salvation is not of works, and I am clinging to the Cross, so I must be right. I belong to the church, I take the communion and read my Bible, and pray morning and night.' Such people are trying to heal their hurt slightly, and crying, 'Peace, peace'; when there is no peace.
The only way to find true peace is to put away the occasion of war. Where there is sin there must be conflict and misery. God Himself cannot give peace to a soul that is holding on to sin, nor does He ever propose to do so. 'Your iniquities have separated between you and your God,' and before you can be restored to Him they must be repented of and put away. Give up trying to make yourself believe that you are right, and just get right! Then your peace will flow as a river.
Another false method of trying to get peace is by putting off the reckoning day. I heard a lady say, 'The fact is, I have given up the struggle, and I hope somehow or other I shall get right when I am dying!' Poor woman! that is an awful experiment. You need to have all the powers of mind and body in full play when settling your accounts with God. Dying pains and distractions will be poor circumstances for making your peace with Him, even if you were sure of the opportunity; but the people to whom God has been showing his way of peace for years, and who have refused to obey, are not the people who get right when they are dying.
Then you say, 'If none of these is the right method for getting peace, what is?' God's way is always effectual, and this is to put away sin. No power can give peace to a guilty being only by taking away his guilt. Confess and forsake your sins and cast your guilty soul on Jesus. Then He will give you his peace, which will abide with you for ever.
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